Publication - Research and analysis

Scotland's Baby Box pilot: development research

Published: 19 Jun 2017

Early research carried out by Kantar TNS with parents last summer, ahead of the Baby Box pilots in Clackmannanshire and Orkney.

54 page PDF

1.2 MB

54 page PDF

1.2 MB

Scotland's Baby Box pilot: development research
5. Summary of insights and recommendations

54 page PDF

1.2 MB

5. Summary of insights and recommendations

Overall there was a very positive response towards the Baby Box from Scotland's parents, especially once they experience the physical box and its contents. For parents at a potentially stressful life-stage, particularly first timers, this demonstrates the Scottish Government's commitment to help and support every baby born in Scotland. Parents felt the Baby Box was genuinely helpful and would like to have received this.

Without explanation the Baby Box runs a minor risk of being perceived as a benefit or hand out. Therefore, the universality and inclusiveness of the Baby Box is key to its success.

The proposed items were almost always considered as useful and desirable and the quality and volume of items was both surprising and positively regarded.

There is a much more significant risk of the overall positivity being undermined by the perceived hidden agenda of not including bottle-feeding related items and only including reusable nappies. This can be viewed as a potential indicator that the Scottish Government may not fully understand the reality of parents' lives.

Midwives are trusted professionals and parents claimed to listen to them, thus parents expect midwives to play a key role in the delivery of the Baby Box. 20 weeks feels like the optimum time for midwives to introduce Baby Box to parents as:

  • Information needs are wide-ranging and parents were not always sure of what to expect from Baby Box on hearing the description
  • More positive reactions once parents witnessed the Baby Box - seeing is believing

With the right information parents felt likely to be motivated to sign up themselves and were also keen to sign up to regular Scottish Government communications linked to Baby Box.

Without knowing the detail and contents of Baby Box anticipated delivery timeframe was varied, but once fully understood parents felt that receipt in advance of birth would be appropriate c. 36 weeks.

Based on these research findings, it is recommended that:

  • Baby Box should be clearly positioned as a gift from Scotland and the Scottish Government, for every newborn baby irrespective of socio-economic background and not just for those from a deprived background. The Scottish Government should clearly communicate that Baby Box's intention is to welcome each new baby and support the baby's first few months in a helpful and practical way.
  • The contents of the Baby Box should be adjusted slightly, within Scottish Government policy guidelines. By including some of the items that parents recommended themselves as 'essentials' and as 'nice to haves' (and excluding some of those items which were rejected or regarded as 'not needed') the Baby Box will demonstrate a better understanding of parents' lives. The list summarising recommended inclusions and exclusions can be found below.
  • The Baby Box could also contain 'how to' guides dealing with common baby parenting challenges such as (but not limited to): the first week; feeding; health and first aid; teething.
  • All expectant parents should be given both verbal and written information about Baby Box, by their midwife, at 20 weeks of pregnancy, as part of the routine consultation. This information should be:
    • Inspirational - explaining why the Scottish Government is undertaking the Baby Box initiative, and tapping into the potential 'halo effect' from Scandinavia;
    • Functional - demonstrating in detail the Baby Box's contents;
    • Instructional - telling parents how to sign up to receive a Baby Box, showing them how to use the Box as a sleeping space, and how to use the items it contains;
    • This information should also be contained in the Baby Boxes.
  • Parents-to-be should be instructed by their midwife how to sign up to receive a Baby Box, themselves. The most effective 'sign up' methods would be by telephone or online.
  • At around 32 to 36 weeks pregnancy, the Baby Box should be delivered by post or courier to parents' homes. This would give parents time to familiarise themselves with the Box and sort through the contents, before birth.
  • Also at the 20 week routine consultation, the midwife should offer parents the optional opportunity to sign up for regular Scottish Government parenting communications, by email.
  • A diagram of the recommended Baby Box 'journey can be found below.

Table A: Recommended inclusions and exclusions

Must haves Nice to haves Not necessary Missing
Blanket Soother Condoms Cardigan or warm top
Light quilted suit Hairbrush Breast feeding information Bottles / Teats
Knitted hats Sling Reusable nappy Formula
Body suits Romper suits Leggings Spoon / fork
Sleep suits Socks Tights Teething ring / gel
Sleep suits with mittens Tooth brush + tooth paste
Mittens Disposable nappies
Bath towel General parenting tips / advice / information
Bath / room thermometer Snow suit
In-ear thermometer Rattle / developmental toy / toy mirror
Travel changing mat Dummy
Drooling bib Spare hospital underwear / nightwear
Feeding bib Shower gel for Mum
Hospital bag + contents Sponge
Maternity towels Baby wash / shampoo
Books Wipes
Reusable bra pads Cotton wool
Muslin squares Breast feeding apron
Nipple shields / shells / cream
Breast feeding pillow

Figure A: Recommended Baby Box journey

The figure below illustrates the preferred logistics from parents' perspectives.

Figure A: Recommended Baby Box journey


Email: Dave Gorman

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road